For Immediate Release: March 4, 2008
Sen. Corn Continues to Fight for Oklahoma’s ‘Second Century Promise’
Having already been successfully amended to a bill approved by the Senate last week, legislation that would provide qualifying Oklahoma students with at least two years of college tuition was successfully added to two additional measures by the state Senate on Tuesday.
Authored by Sen. Kenneth Corn, Senate Bill 2020, the Second Century Promise Act, failed to receive a hearing in committee. However, the author of the measure promised to use every legislative tool at his disposal to advance the proposal. On Tuesday, Senate Bills 2164 and 1988 were amended to include language creating the Second Century Promise Act.
“As I’ve said before, the most important thing we can do to grow the economy is to increase the number of college graduates in our state and this proposal would do just that,” said Corn, D-Poteau. “The absence of an educated workforce has been holding our state back and keeping us from realizing our economic potential. It’s time for us to take the steps necessary to fix this problem and build a thriving and modern economy in Oklahoma.”
The Second Century Promise Act would enable many high school students currently ineligible for the Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program (OHLAP) to qualify for scholarships that would help them complete their first two years of college. If qualifying students maintain a minimum 2.5 GPA during those first two years, they’ll receive additional scholarship funds to complete their bachelor degree.
Corn’s legislation would also modify eligibility requirements for enrollment in the OHLAP program. The proposal changes the income requirements to qualify for initial enrollment, changing the maximum amount allowable from $50,000 total income to $50,000 in taxable income.
Corn said approval of the proposal would help the state attract high paying jobs, grow the economy and ultimately improve the quality of life for the entire state.
“If we’re really serious about building a thriving economy, we have to be willing to look toward the future and make the investment needed to produce more college graduates,” Corn said. “This is a proposal that not only would provide hope for thousands of Oklahomans but also tangible benefits to current and future generations. This is a proposal that is critical to our state’s future and I’ll continue fighting to see that it is approved by the Legislature.”
Corn said the legislation would have no fiscal impact in the 2009 fiscal year and would cost approximately $13 million the following year, eventually reaching an average annual cost of $23 million.
All three measures now advance to the House for consideration.
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